Alhambra Theatre, 25, Arcade, Stirling

General Details and Location

Name of Building
Alhambra Theatre
Other Name(s)
Town Hall; Arcade Theatre
25, Arcade, Stirling
Postcode (click to find nearby buildings)
Planning Authority (click to search)
Divisional Area (click to search)
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NS 79655 93456
Location Type
HS Reference No


Rare classically-detailed shopping arcade on ground sloping to NE, with entrances at King Street (former Temperance Hotel) and Murray Place (former Douglas Hotel) and incorporating shell of Alhambra Theatre (former Arcade Theatre).

This shopping arcade, now known as the Stirling Arcade, is a fine example located between Stirling's principal shopping streets and the Castle. It is one of just five remaining in Scotland. Built for William Crawford, local councillor and china merchant, at a cost of about £30,000, it was also home to the Arcade Theatre.

Crawford's Arcade, as it was known, links King Street and Murray Place. Narrow street facades at each end lead into the ramped shopping arcade. Entering at King Street on higher ground to the SW, the arcade runs down to the NE, it dog-legs to the left into a lofty rectangular-plan level centre court and back again to the right to slope down to Murray Place. The Arcade, together with the Alhambra Theatre and Douglas Hotel were sold by auction in 1920 after the death of William Crawford.

The Arcade Theatre was situated within the arcade above the shops. Access was by the extant elegant cantilevered dog-leg staircase with decorative cast iron balusters and serpentine curved top landing on thin cast iron columns, with some fine decorative plasterwork. In 1964 the space was converted to a furniture showroom for Thomas Menzies Limited. The fine interior detail was removed owing to its poor condition but managing director, Mr Stirling Farquhar, had a pictorial record made. The auditorium 'had two U-shaped balconies, supported on iron columns, with a vaulted ceiling of painted panels. It seated 1,200 and had a chequered start with various short leases' (Peter). It was sold to William Crawford in 1912 and renamed the Alhambra Music Hall. It was then used for cine-variety and became a full-time cinema in 1930. The cinema closed in 1939 due to perceived fire risk owing to limited access.

Scotland's other shopping arcades are at: Central Arcade, Ayr (1880), North Bridge Arcade, Edinburgh (1900), Argyle Arcade, Glasgow (1827), and Market Arcade, Inverness (1860).
References and Notes updated as part of the Cinema Thematic Study 2007-08.
List description further updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010. (Historic Scotland)
Building Dates
1879-1882 with later alterations and restorations
John McLean

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
The risk record applies to the former theatre/ cinema section of the arcade complex soley.
Field Visits
30/06/2009, 12/9/2012
Development History
June 2009: External inspection reveals that the former theatre (upper floors within the arcade) is vacant, but in fair condition.
July 2009: Building warrant lodged for internal alterations to the theatre in January 2008. Application ref: 08/00022/ALT.
12 September 2012: External inspection finds the former theatre remains disused. The Building Manager reports that though the exterior remains in good condition the interior is in a poor state. It is estimated to require £500,000 worth of repairs and renovations to bring it back into use.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Stirling Town
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number
01786 442453


Current Availability
Sale/Lease Possible
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
Name of Owners
Type of Ownership

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit